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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

96                                       LIFE  OF
noxiales an Mesique, dans Tlsle cle Cuba, daiiR los pro-
vinces de Caracas, Cumana., &c./' in which he gave a
methodical description of the plants in tho Latin and
French languages, with remarks on their medicinal
virtues and domestic application. In another work,
" Monographie des Rliexia et cles Malasthomos" (plants
which occur almost exclusively in S ox ith America, being
principally trees and bushes, and of which all thos#
which bear berries affording eatable fruit, which per-
manently colours the mouth black., whence their name),
he described more than 150 specimens of new species
of these plants.
Humbohlt, besides this, united with the botanist
•when the at present entirely unknown vegetation of
Asia, of central Africa and New Holland,   of South America, from
the Amazon to the px*ovince of GhiquitoH, will have boon, revealed.
In our temperate zones a certain monotony obtains ;   tho physio-
gnomy of oxxr landscapes xnay be characterized by very fow formn,
which shrink more and more as they approach the pole, and l>ucomo
more vaxied and gigantic to wards the equator.    Like oxxr aniinale., of
which a lizard is there repeated as a crocodile, a oat aw a tigor, lion
or jaguar, the moxiocotyledoris of our inarnhcB i^row ixx the nouth an
majestic   bamboos,  as  palms and   uranieH.    Tho shrivelled noedlo
leaves of our pines there unfold themselves as tho immonne leathery
leaves of the bread tree, our German foHaceous xnoBS grows to a tree-
like form,  our ferns  are trees   there like oxxr aklern  and lindens.
Humboldt characterizes the botanical forms in the following1 man-
ner : — 1. The pat wi tree as the highest and noblest of all plan tile
forms, the stenx of which in often 380 feet high..    2. The JPis'cwr/ or
JBanana   form, which  compensates for oxxr northern grain  in 'the
torrid zone.    3. The malvacecruu form, to which tho monkoy'H bread
tree beloxigs, which is probably the oldest and largest momumont
on oixr planet,    4 P The Mimosa form.    5, Hoatlis,    (>. Cacti.    7- Or-
chidaceous plants.     8. Oasuari form.    0. Pines,    10, PothosplaxitK,
11. Lianas and vines.    12. Aloe plantfi.    13. GraasoH, which, in tho
tropics  often exceed  irx  height our alders and oakn,    14% IfcrnH,
often  thirty-five  feet high ixi hot climates.     15. LilyplaxitHj and
16, Willow form.    The tropics afford the natural requirements for
the production of all the representatives of tho botanical world by
its distx'icts ascending" from the level of the Bea to the highest xnoxxn*
tains.    The inhabitant of the torrid zone may see all the plantila
forms of earth without leaving his home, for he is surrounded not
only by   palm  trees   and pisang   bushes,   but   by  plants   which,
belonging, in a   less stately   and dwarfish   form to   the   northern
world, flourish there   in imposing  height   and Ixixxuious   fertility,
This short sketch will sxiffice to prove how interesting and attrac-
tive Hnxnboldt's system is for every intelligent mind*